A care worker who stole almost £15,000 from a frail pensioner she was meant to be looking after has narrowly escaped a jail sentence this week.

But a judge has warned pregnant Lyn Newton she could still face jail if she does not honour a pledge to pay back the 82-year-old man she stole from while he was a resident at the Sunnyhill Care Home in Selwyn Road, Eastbourne.

Judge Michael Lawson QC told 36-year-old Newton, “I cannot think of anything more disgusting than these series of offences over a period of nine months. To steal from somebody you are meant to be caring for is as low as you can get. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting behaviour.”

She admitted theft in breach of trust at an earlier hearing and appeared before Judge Lawson QC yesterday (Thursday). She will be sentenced in July.

Amanda Kelly, prosecuting, said Newton’s victim was a physically and mentally frail man with a history of mental illness but she took his post office savings card and withdrew money on regular occasions between April 2012 and January 2013, taking up to £250 at a time. The thefts were discovered when the frail pensioner went to draw money out himself and found all of his savings had gone. A police investigation revealed the thefts happened when Newton was on duty and CCTV from ATM machines showed her withdrawing the cash. Newton initially claimed she had handed the money over to the pensioner but her colleagues told officers her lifestyle appeared to be very extravagant compared with her wages as a care worker and she was forced to admit she had been spending it on herself.

The court heard the pensioner was left upset and confused and couldn’t understand how anyone could have done that to him. Miss Kelly said, “Some of the activities the pensioner used to enjoy he simply hasn’t got the money to do now.”

Madeleine Priestly, defending, said Newton wanted to pay it back and added, “She doesn’t know what possessed her, she isn’t proud of herself and is most remorseful.”